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BRE updates environmental guide

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The latest version of the Green Guide to Specification, produced by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) is available online, at

The Guide provides designers and specifiers with easy-to-use guidance on how to make the best environmental choices when selecting construction materials and components. It is also used as the basis of the materials assessment section of BREEAM.

The Guide includes a new A+ to E ranking system, where A+ equals the best environmental performance, which gives a greater differentiation than the previous guide’s A to C system.

Other features include over 1,200 specifications; ratings for six building types including healthcare and education; new and updated data from more than 40 trade associations and material supply representatives, and over 200 materials.

Commenting on steel’s position in the Guide, John Dowling, Corus Construction Development Manager, said: “The ratings for steel based systems support the sustainability credentials for steel in construction. For commercial buildings, in-situ floor slab on shallow and deep profiled metal deck, both score A+, the highest possible rating, as does hollow pre-stressed precast hollow planks.”

However, the Green Guide has different ratings for different sectors, so a floor type can have a different rating for commercial, education or retail forms of construction. Consequently, a shallow metal deck floor is A+ in commercial and education buildings; A in retail buildings. Similarly, a deep floor is rated as B in retail and A+ in commercial.

The Green Guide assesses building materials and components in terms of their environmental impact across their entire life cycle.

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